[Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue May 10 18:04:45 CDT 2016


Mike,
I know that you take great pleasure in disagreeing with me on Taxacom (all part of the fun), but you appear to have read my words as the polar opposite of what I wrote! I (as basically an amateur myself) fully agree that there are some excellent amateurs and some shoddy professionals. That was my whole point! I was trying to say that some professionals are not of the same opinion, which may be why they object to description by photo. I wasn't agreeing with them, I was disagreeing with them. So what the heck are you trying to say??? Just for the benefit of those who don't know, actually Sharp was a professional (with a PhD) and Broun was more or less an amateur (and lacked formal qualifications). Sharp was better in this case, but Broun was OK too.
Cheers, Stephen

--------------------------------------------
On Wed, 11/5/16, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy
 To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 10:37 AM
 
 Stephen,
 
 Limiting myself to your point
 #2, at least in North America and Central 
 Europe, entomology has been well served by many
 truly excellent amateur 
 taxonomists who are
 welcomed by the professionals as equals worthy of 
 respect and admiration.   I am not
 talking about the likes of LeConte 
 and Horn
 back in the 19th century, but those alive and active
 today.  
 There are also professionals that
 lack that respect and admiration by 
 their
 peers.  Even in your neck of the woods, Broun was a
 professional, 
 Sharp was an amateur.  That
 chestnut simply does not fly.
 
 Mike
 
 On
 5/10/2016 4:30 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
 > Cris said: "I also think there is a
 troubling political side to this case. All 14 authors are
 from the same mega-diverse country"
 >
 > My reply: Yes, I
 think you are correct that there is a troubling political
 side to this case, but nothing to do with Brazil. In BZN
 73(1)(2016), there is another hard-hitting critique of the
 controversial new fly description, this time by three Swiss
 (Switzerland not being particularly
 "mega-dicerse"!), who appear to have a similar
 agenda, though they conduct their criticisms somewhat more
 collegially. Reading between the lines, I detect two
 possible underlying concerns which may be motivating the
 reaction against holotypes designated via photos:
 >
 > (1) This might
 endanger continued funding to museums which look after type
 specimens; and
 >
 > (2)
 This might encourage amateurs to describe new taxa.
 >
 > Well, I'm not
 sure what I think about (1). I don't think that it is a
 big deal. Instead of insisting upon a global ban of
 description from photos, one might better lobby to the
 effect that description by specimen is better, which I
 don't think anyone denies! Also, I very much doubt that
 funding responds in such a simple way to single factors
 influencing how taxonomy is carried out in practice.
 >
 > As for (2), it COULD
 BE a good thing! It all depends on whether or not the
 taxonomy is done adequately. It is way too simple to think
 that all and only professional taxonomists can do taxonomy
 adequately. I suspect that it really has more to do with
 control. Traditional professional taxonomists just can't
 handle the thought of losing control over who can do
 taxonomy, and who can have access to types, etc.
 >
 > The most important
 thing is that arguments for or against are based on good
 reasons, not misinterpretations/manipulations, etc. Even the
 BZN article misrepresents the disadvantages of photos. Their
 same argument could be just as easily applied to argue
 against the description of new taxa from fossils or
 non-perfect specimens in some way. A determined faker, as I
 already pointed out, is by no means limited to photographic
 manipulation!
 >
 > And
 there is also the issue of peer review: again I ask how 14
 authors, at least 2 reviewers and an editorial team for a
 supposedly good journal all managed to let such basic errors
 slip through?!
 >
 >
 Cheers, Stephen
 >
 >
 --------------------------------------------
 > On Tue, 10/5/16, Cristian Ruiz Altaba
 <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
 wrote:
 >
 >   Subject: Re: Re: [Taxacom]
 I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the
 perils of fast taxonomy
 >   To: "Stephen
 Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 >   Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   Received: Tuesday, 10 May,
 2016, 6:29 PM
 >   
 >   
 >   Hi Stephen,Well, I for one
 am
 >   prepared to say
 publicly that photographs are evidence. So
 >   we are two already. A reply
 should be written.
 >   The
 point on faking evidence is not mine. It is in
 >   Santos et al, when they argue
 that an image can be
 >   manipulated (and not a
 holotype, alas). I should add that
 >   too many taxonomists naïvely
 think that photographs are
 >   superior to drawings. It
 depends on intention, of course.
 >   However, at least in
 malacology, it seems most reviewers
 >   prefer a fuzzy photograph
 over a crisp drawing --obviously
 >   ignoring the art of
 Photoshop. And what is taxonomy about,
 >   altogether. (A nice path is
 in the works of Lou Grande, who
 >   depicts complex fossils with
 good photographs side-by-side
 >   with accurate drawings of the
 same specimen).
 >   I also
 think there is a troubling political side to
 >   this case. All 14 authors are
 from the same mega-diverse
 >   country. They want to stress
 the need for support towards
 >   museums. Yet, they got a red
 herring instead. It is
 >   worrisome that they do not
 accept the possibility of
 >   expanding their taxonomic
 tools, even when it is perfectly
 >   clear that the pace of
 (old-fashioned) description is orders
 >   of magnitude below the
 (current) estimated rate of
 >   extinction. This is a
 globally relevant issue.
 >   All the
 >   best,Cristian
 >   
 >   
 >   
 >   -----Stephen Thorpe
 >   <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 ha escrit: -----
 >    
 >   Per a: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>,
 >   Cristian Ruiz Altaba <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
 >   
 >   De: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 >   Data: 10/05/2016 12:43AM
 >   
 >   a/c: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 >   Assumpte: Re: [Taxacom]
 I'm furious over
 >   article: On typeless species
 and the perils of fast
 >   taxonomy
 >   
 >   
 >   
 >   Hi Cris,
 >   Judging from the off-list
 replies,
 >   this issue would
 seem to be a "sensitive" one,
 >   with all who replied in full
 agreement with me, yet not
 >   prepared to say so publicly.
 So far, it seems like only
 >   dipterists have taken notice,
 but the taxonomic issue are,
 >   of course, quite general. It
 is odd that nobody is forcing
 >   anyone to describe new
 species from photos, yet Santos et
 >   al. seem to want to impose a
 ban on anyone doing it! There
 >   are certain parallels with
 homophobia! As for the photo
 >   faking argument, I think you
 may have slightly misunderstood
 >   their point? Yes, drawings
 and verbal descriptions can also
 >   be faked, possibly even
 easier than faking photos, but their
 >   point was that a preserved
 type specimen is there to be
 >   checked against descriptions
 and illustrations, which cannot
 >   be done if all that you have
 are photos. This is true, but
 >   in practice a determined
 faker would have many options
 >   regardless. They could
 deliberately damage or even destroy
 >   the holotype, and the
 availability of the new name would be
 >   unaffected, with only the
 description and illustrations left
 >   to use for ID. They could
 refuse access to the holotype if
 >   they also had control of the
 type repository, or they could
 >   simply stay quiet and hope
 that nobody bothered to check.
 >   So, while the lack of a
 checkable specimen is one reason
 >   against description from
 photo only, it needs to be weighed
 >   against reasons for. Also, a
 specimen and even species is
 >   only as good as the
 associated data, and collecting data is
 >   very easy to fake, with
 little or no way to confirm. So the
 >   possibility of faking photos
 doesn't really introduce
 >   anything new.
 >   
 >   Cheers,
 >   Stephen
 >   
 >   --------------------------------------------
 >   
 >   On Mon, 9/5/16, Cristian Ruiz
 Altaba
 >   <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
 wrote:
 >   
 >   
 >   
 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious
 >   over article: On typeless
 species and the perils of fast
 >   taxonomy
 >   
 >   
 To: "Stephen Thorpe"
 >   <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
 >    Cc:
 >   taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   
 >   
 Received: Monday, 9 May, 2016, 6:46 PM
 >    
 >    
 >    Hi
 >   Stephen,The paper is
 indeed
 >   
 >    dangerous. I have read it and feel
 just the way you do.
 >    Indeed, the
 main issue is that the authors
 >   believe they know
 >   
 >   
 very well the Code... when in fact they obviously
 >   don't.
 >    
 >   
 >   
 Santos et al. want to make a point in support of
 >    "old-but-not-outdated
 taxonomy".
 >   However,
 they
 >   
 >    also want to dress this quarrel with
 a legal varnish.
 >     
 >   
 >   
 Particularly infuriating is their invocation of
 >    Fontcuberta's photographic work.
 He has
 >   played a lot
 >   
 >   
 with the illusion of truth in photography. He even has
 >   a
 >   
 book portraying himself as a follower of
 >   Osama Bin
 >   
 >   
 Laden, his whole biography with numerous
 >   photographs...
 >    almost all of which turn
 >   out to be false. The only
 real one
 >   
 >    portrays what seems a joke: a bottle
 of something
 >   called
 >    Mecca-Cola. His point is simple
 yet
 >   worthwhile --it
 >   
 >   
 doesn't matter what the support might be, what counts
 >   is
 >   
 the genuine sincerity in the message.
 >   This we know as the
 >   
 >   
 Golde Rule, which holds all of science together. Surely
 >   we
 >   
 all could point at one paper at least
 >   where taxonomic
 >   
 >   
 characters were drawn or reproduced with mistakes (if
 >    not intentional fake). Why should we
 suspect
 >   that the
 >   
 >   
 photographs by Marshall and Evenhuis are a fake, while
 >    taking all works produced by all
 Brazilian
 >   dipeterologists
 >   
 >    as
 fault-proof?
 >    So what is the point
 in
 >   Santos et al? Hard to
 tell. At
 >   
 >    any rate, they end up advocating for
 field
 >   work. Yet, that
 >   
 >    is
 exactly how you are most likely to photograph
 >   unknown
 >   
 >   
 species.
 >    I do think that this
 paper
 >   deserves an answer.
 May I
 >   
 >    propose a joint reply by several
 members of this list?
 >    All the
 >   
 >   
 best,Cristian
 >    Cristian
 >    R. Altaba
 >   
 EvoCog,
 >   University of
 the
 >   
 >    Balearic Islands
 >     
 >   
 
 >    
 >   
 -----"Taxacom"
 >   
 >   
 <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 ha escrit:
 >    -----
 >   
 > 
    
 >    Per a:
 >   <neale at bishopmuseum.org>,
 >    <samarsha at uoguelph.ca>
 >   
 >   
 
 >    De: Stephen Thorpe
 >    Enviat per:
 >   
 "Taxacom"
 >   
 >    
 >    Data:
 09/05/2016 12:29AM
 >    a/c: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   
 >   
 Assumpte: [Taxacom] I'm furious over
 >    article: On typeless species and the
 perils
 >   of fast
 >   
 >   
 taxonomy
 >    
 > 
   
 >    
 >    Hi
 all,
 >    
 >   
 >   
 I'm furious
 >    over this new
 article:
 >   
 >    
 >   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/syen.12180/abstract
 >    
 >   
 >   
 
 >    They say: However, according to
 Article
 >   16.4 of the
 ICZN
 >   
 >    (1999), only holotypes of extant taxa
 should be housed in
 >   a
 >    public scientific collection.
 >   Marleyimyia xycolopae is
 >   
 >   
 obviously an extant species. Accordingly, its type
 >   specimen
 >    should be deposited in a
 >   scientific collection ... In
 short,
 >   
 >    Marshall and Evenhuis published a
 nomen nudum because
 >   their
 > 
   discovery is backed only by a
 >   photograph and not by a
 type
 >   
 >    specimen.
 >   
 
 >    
 >    Art.
 16.4 actually says:
 >   
 >    16.4.2. where the holotype or
 syntypes are
 >    extant specimens, by
 a statement of intent
 >   that
 they will be
 >   
 >    (or are) deposited in a collection
 and a statement
 >    indicating the
 name and location of that
 >   collection.
 >   
 >   
 
 >    
 >    Extant
 SPECIMENS,
 >   NOT extant
 SPECIES!!!
 >    
 >   
 >   
 The argument offered against
 >   
 the
 >   availability of the
 name Marleyimyia xycolopae is
 >   
 >   
 clearly based on a gross misinterpretation of the Code,
 >   and
 >   
 is makes the whole article by Santos
 >   et al. utterly
 >   
 >   
 pointless! I am extremely alarmed that nobody out of 14
 >    authors, at least two reviewers and
 an
 >   editorial team from
 a
 >   
 > 
   supposedly reputable journal could not catch this
 >    fundamental error before it went to
 print.
 >   Peer review just
 >   
 >   
 doesn't work, it would seem.
 >   
 
 >    
 >   
 Stephen
 >   
 >    
 >    
 >    
 >   
 _______________________________________________
 >   
 >   
 
 >    Taxacom Mailing List
 >    Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   
 >   
 
 >    
 >   http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >    The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may
 be
 >   
 > 
   searched at:
 >    http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >   
 >   
 
 >    Channeling
 >   Intellectual Exuberance for
 29 years
 >   
 >    in 2016.
 >   
 
 >
 _______________________________________________
 > Taxacom Mailing List
 >
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 > The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >
 > Channeling
 Intellectual Exuberance for 29 years in 2016.
 
 -- 
 __________________________________________________
 
 Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
 F.R.E.S.
 
 US Post Office
 Address:
 Montana Entomology Collection
 Marsh Labs, Room 50
 1911 West
 Lincoln Street
 Montana State University
 Bozeman, MT 59717
 USA
 
 UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
 Montana Entomology Collection
 Marsh Labs, Room 50
 1911 West
 Lincoln Street
 Montana State University
 Bozeman, MT 59718
 USA
 
 
 (406)
 994-4610 (voice)
 (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
 mivie at montana.edu
 
 _______________________________________________
 Taxacom Mailing List
 Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
 searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 
 Channeling Intellectual
 Exuberance for 29 years in 2016.



More information about the Taxacom mailing list